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The Mahavishnu Orchestra

 

 

 

 

Many consider John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra to be the greatest of all the jazz-rock fusion groups.  They formed in the late 1970 by McLaughlin, who had worked with the electric version of Miles Davis' group on the landmark B*tches Brew in 1969. 

The groups' original members were McLaughlin, keyboardist Jan Hammer (known for his score on the 1980s TV series Miami Vice), violinist Jerry Goodman, bassist Rick Laird, and drummer Billy Cobham.  They released three records, including the incredible: Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire.  They played with sophisticated improvisations and played incredibly loud during their live sets.

The group reformed in 1974, with Jean-Luc Ponty replacing Goodman on violin, along with different musicians joining as well.  Although the group never was as influential as the original lineup, McLaughlin went on record as saying was the "real Mahavishnu Orchestra."  Because of McLaughlin's dual interests in Eastern religion and playing acoustic guitar, the group broke up in 1975. They went on to greener pastures, including a wealth of solo work and further collaborations with Miles Davis and Carlos Santana.  McLaughlin attempted to revive the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1984 (using Cobham, saxophonist Bill Evans (NOTE: NOT the piano player of the same name), keyboardist Mitchell Forman percussionist Danny Gottleib, and bassist Jonas Hellborg, but surprisingly, the group was unsuccessful, only releasing one album.

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